Evolution Through Conflict with Deidre Combs, Ph.D.

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Most of us try to avoid conflict if at all possible. But conflict has been with us since the dawn of time. As Deidre Combs explains, "In the beginning microseconds of the universe there was a great disruption. At that point, conflict was created. Opposing forces came together, and evolution, expansion and growth occurred. It's just the way of the universe." From that perspective it's clear that conflict is unlikely to go away any time soon. In fact, it may even be built into our design as a vehicle for growth. With wisdom gained from years of spiritual and cross-cultural studies, Dr. Combs has identified four phases that each of us moves through as we strive to resolve differences, not only with others, but with ourselves as well. She shows us how, by understanding these phases, we can resolve disputes in ways that optimize our learning opportunities and create elegant, win-win solutions for everyone involved. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Dr. Deidre Combs is a licensed mediator and corporate consultant. She’s a core instructor in Montana State University’s Leadership Fellows Certificate Program. Since 2007, she has taught intensive leadership training to State Department-selected student and professional leaders from throughout the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Eurasia, Latin America and Pakistan’s FATA region.

Her books include:

To learn more about the work of Deidre Combs go to www.deidrecombs.com.

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • How you can discover multiple solutions to what looks like an irresolvable conflict
  • Why the best solution is usually a very simple one
  • What four stages you will go through on your way to a positive resolution to a conflict
  • Why chaos may be a necessary part of conflict resolution
  • How your opponent's viewpoint can enhance your own
  • Why your toughest opponent may be the one who has the most to teach you
Host: Justine Willis Toms      Interview Date: 6/18/2004      Program Number: 3051